Saheli*: Musings and Observations
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
 
Hard to Swallow

So you might have heard this story: Last month, a woman in Missouri went to the hospital having swallowed her cell phone.[1] She'd attempted this, apparently, to keep it away from her boyfriend. Stupid? Hard to believe? Well, yes. But if the odds are 6 billion to one against something like that, then I guess it'll happen sooner or later. Besides, there's no shortage of people doing stupid things.

Still, this might not have been as cut and dried as first glance. Later articles revealed some doubt about the details -- and once the woman could speak again, she reported that her boyfriend had, in fact, forced it down her throat.

Mildy interesting -- but as I read through dozens of very short articles, I notice that it's entirely he-said, she-said. He called the police and told them she'd swallowed it: well, let's tell his story as fact. But later, she contradicts him: well, let's all tell it that way. Sadly, violence is always more believable, of course. But it makes me wish there was a chance of basing our public perception on something more solid.

Which is, perhaps, a tolerable segue into my own inadequately-verified comment last week. When I made reference to something I'd learned in college -- that the Mormon church (properly speaking, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) owned a big percentage of the orange groves in Florida. This was reinforced by a Time Magazine article from 1997 detailing the enormous wealth the church possesses, and some related commentary. Put simply, they have a impressively strong work ethic and an equally strong tithing policy. And they've chosen to invest that wealth in line with their theology and philosophy. Orange juice is a popular substitute for alcohol as a social drink. From my own disaster-preparedness perspective, I've always been impressed with their readiness to feed each other.

But, referencing 8 year old documents isn't terribly good research for something like this. I linked to the Deseret Management Company -- perhaps I should have chose the Farm Management Company -- as a prominent corporate holding entity for the church. I didn't link to anything more specific. In fact, information is hard to come by. The Wikipedia article on DMC's holdings is noticeably short on hyperlinks. A recent list of holdings is posted by "Secret Agent ex-Mormon", for whatever that's worth. A few of the more promising articles I found, such as this one, are paid-subscription only.

All of which means: I can't back up my earlier comment. This maybe isn't as grievous a journalistic crime as some of the more famous recent scandals, but I thought I ought to cop to it. If you're at all curious[2], I recommend perusing the links and making your own call.

---

[1] In line with ToastyKen's comments on life imitating art I was reminded of the episode of Futurama in which Amy's cell phone is the size of a cheezy poof. [sound]
[2] Hard to believe you would be, at this point.
 


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Saheli Datta started this when she was a journalism student at Columbia in New York. Now she lives in the Bay Area. *Old people call me R. New people, call me Saheli. Thanks! My homepage. Specifically, my links. Email me: Saheli [AT] Gmail [dot] Com

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american footprints(Nadezhda & Praktike)
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Iddybud (Jude Nagurney Camwell)
Indeterminacy
India Uncut
InSpiteOfEverything
Intel Dump: Phillip Carter et al
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Jesus Politics
John and Belle Have a Blog
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Scott McCloud
Mind Without Borders
Electrolite: Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Corey Pein
Political Animal(Kevin Drum, formerly Calpundit)
Kevin G. Powell
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Radiation Persuasion (Nick)
Reneebop
Rhinocrisy
Scott Rosenberg(Salon.com)
Rox Populi
Felix(&Rhian)Salmon
samVaad
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Sepia Mutiny
Amardeep Singh
Snarkmarket (Robin Sloan & Matt Thompson)
South-East Asian Earthquake and Tsunami Blog
SreeTips: New To Sree
Steprous (Bear)
Robert Stribley
Subjunctive.net:klog
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To The Teeth
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Venk@
Manish Vij
Vinod's Blog
War and Piece
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Matthew Yglesias:Old
Yglesias:Tpmcafe
Zoo Station:Reuben Abraham
Ethan Zuckerman
Zwichenzug



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Blogs focusing on policy, politics, and national security:
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Back To Iraq 3.0 (Chris Albritton)
The Decembrist
Brad DeLong
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